State Dept vetting rules require more traveler information from foreign nations

The U.S. State Department is now demanding countries furnish broad, personal data to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist the American government in vetting foreign travelers.

According to a memo sent to all U.S. diplomatic posts obtained by Reuters, the new guideline is “designed to mitigate risk” from potential terrorists.

“This is the first time that the U.S. Government is setting standards for the information that is required from all countries specifically in support of immigration and traveler vetting,” read part of the cable.

The cable, dated July 12, specifically states foreign nations may not place its citizens on watchlists based solely on religious affiliation.

Under the new standards, DHS will require countries to supply information relating to the issuance of electronic passports and their procedure of reporting lost or stolen passports to INTERPOL, an intergovernmental organization that works to coordinate law enforcement efforts around the world.

The new policy also insists foreign governments begin issuing electronic passports or provide proof it will begin to issue electronic passports in the future.

The guidelines further require foreign nations to provide when requested any information relating to a person’s identity, visa applications, including biographical and biometric details.  DHS is also asking governments to deliver information related to a person’s criminal record or ties to terror organizations.

The cable also directs American embassy personnel to press foreign countries to comply with the new rules, particularly if the a foreign nation has historically not cooperated sufficiently with the State Department.

Countries which do not comply with the request must do so within 50 days or face travel-related sanctions.

“Failure to provide this information in a timely manner will require us to assume your country does not meet the standards,” read a passage of the cable distributed to diplomatic posts.

In related news, a State Department memo by Secretary Rex Tillerson leaked to Reuters on Monday indicates the grandparents of American citizens from six countries listed on President Trump’s executive travel ban will now be allowed to receive visas and enter the United States following a Thursday ruling by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii.


[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via New York Post]